Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cairns



Cairns have a mystery about them.

Found throughout the world, dating from prehistoric to modern times, cairns, conical in shape, are piles of stones constructed by man.  Appearing in barren places, along shorelines, upon hills, roadsides, hiking trails, or on cliffs overlooking the sea, cairns can have a simple or elaborate significance.

A cairn site has four main purposes. To mark a grave; in tribute to a person of significance; for trail navigation, or as sea markers to help ships determine their location. Cairns also line the earth with reverence and remembrance beneath the stars.  Since there is no mortar used to hold them together, large burial mounds found throughout Scotland, England and Ireland are seen as unbelievable methods of ancient engineering.  


Most cairns appear natural in color although some are known to have been painted for  religious purposes depending on place and culture.  As trail markers they are used to indicate specific directions, a living map of sorts or permanent form of 'bread crumbs' to aid one along a difficult passage. 




In Scottish Gaelic "Cuiridh mi clach air do ch├árn" is translated: "I'll put a stone on your cairn".  According to folklore from the Highlands, each man going to battle would place a stone in a communal pile signifying a burial mound. Those who returned from war removed a stone to signify their survival, those who did not were part of the cairn of the 'beloved dead.' 


Folklore states that the enormous cairn atop Knocknarea belongs to the mythical Iron Age Queen Maeve.  Considered bad luck to remove a stone from her monument, one is encouraged to travel up its girth to deposit a stone instead ensuring good luck and protection.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Witch Balls

Magical or Craft Tools are merely the extension of the power and prowess of the witch.  Without the honing of talents to bring about the desired effect, tools are merely objects with no 'otherworldly' use. 

One of my favorite tools is a witch ball, which is actually the corruption of the term 'watch' ball. A hollow sphere of plain or colored glass created by a glassblower for the purpose of hanging in a cottage window.  They can measure as large as 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter, and can vary widely in color.


The custom of hanging witch balls in windows dates back to 18th century England where they were, and still are, used to ward off evil spirits. Making their way to America in the 19th century, they were popular decorations in windows, nestled on the rim of a vase or perched on a base in the garden.  The latter gave birth to today's gazing ball; however, gazing balls have vacant interiors.  

Witch balls magical power is not due to its color or placement alone.  Hung in windows they are used to imprison evil sprites who have entered your home with malintent. Their curiosity, equivalent only to our whiskered feline friends, succumb to the glint of intricate strands haphazardly configured within. Once tiny fingers, often dipped in foxglove juice, rest upon the glass surface, they're tiny bodies are sucked within.  Their fate is simple, doomed to remain within their pretty prison for eternity, or until the ball is deliberately or accidently broken. 

Many witches choose to hang a witch ball near the door most frequently used to enter the house.  Whispered over with protective charms, the balls keep general bad-luck from finding its way into living quarters.  Ill-wishes from nosy neighbors breezing in and chattering uninvited advice, are dissolved and prevented from inhabiting the house.


Glass balls with cord knotted around their girth were used by fisherman to keep their nets afloat.  Duel purposed and associated with sea superstitions and legends, they were thought to protect the fisherman from being caught in the large nets, dragged overboard and drowned by mermaids. Traditionally green or blue glass with imperfections and inclusions, they can still be found in antique shops and flea markets.  In some parts of the world, glass floats once made in Japan and no longer used, have been found to wash up on beaches from time to time.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Emersion



The following exercise is not a typical water scrying method.  However, it is one of my favorites.


Tools Needed:

Table surface.

Dark glass or ceramic bowl. 

Pitcher of warm water.

Three taper candles in holders.

Salt in a small dish. 

Matches.

Towel.

Journal and pen. 


Wear a simple article of clothing that can be easily removed.  Have the temperature of the room warm enough as to not be cold. 

When you have all the tools needed, place a candle in its holder on either side of the bowl and one to the back of the bowl opposite yourself.  Fill the bowl with the warm water.  Center yourself.... 

Light the candles, beginning with the one to your left, then on your right. Quiet you mind...  When ready light the third and final candle, take a pinch of salt and sprinkle it across the surface of the still, flame-reflected water. Breathe... 

Let you vision soften as you gaze into the water... Rest your eyes there for as long as you like....

Slowly bring your gaze to the 'surface' of the water.  Let you mind drift there, let it float on the surface of the warm, inviting water while you stand in candlelight.

Close your eyes...

Image for a moment that you are very small; small enough to be standing on the table surface.  Keeping your eyes closed, imagine walking slowly across the table's surface....feel the surface under your feet. What does it feel like? 
When you reach the bowl pull yourself up and onto the lip of the bowl, now stand and find your balance on it's edge. 

Imagine your clothes slipping ever so gently from your body onto the table surface next to the bowl on which you balance.  Let your own clothes slip from your body and drop to the floor.

Bring your attention back to yourself in miniature standing on the edge of the bowl.

Step or dive into the water.....

Swim out to the center; slowly turn over in the water and float effortlessly on your back in it's warmth.

Breathe... 

Concentrate on what the water feels like around you.  Your ears are covered with water, muffling any outside noises.  Your hair floats around your head in a lazy manner.  Your arms float out from your sides weightless on the surface of the water. Breathe... 

Separate your legs to a comfortable distance from each other. Feel the warmth surrounding you. As you float there in the stillness feel the water level shift ever so slightly up and down on your skin.... around your legs, hips, chest, neck, your jaw line and your face.
Breathe... 

Above you is an endless night sky void of stars.  Much like the black abyss of water in the dark bowl in which you float.  Let you mind open.  Seek guidance in the 'Between'..   

When you feel completely relaxed slowly open your physical eyes but hold the thought of floating naked on your back in the warm candlelit, as you gaze at the surface see and feel yourself in both places at the same time.
( If your mind wanders close your eyes are return to the sensation of floating.)

What images flutter there on the surface of the water in the reflected candlelight?  Are they whole scenes or fleeting images?  Familiar or unknown to you?  What comes from the depths of the blackness as it reaches to communicate with you?   

Can you see your face reflected on the surface of the water?  Can you see your face reflected in the black sky above the candles as you float? 

What do you see?....

What do you sense?....

What are the waters of the unconscious saying to you?....

Take as long as you like., don't hurry the process.

When you are ready and wish to end this exercise, close your eyes and feel the water around you once more.  Slowly and deliberately lift yourself (in your mind's eye) from your connection with the water. 

Dry your skin.  Extinguish the candles.  Pour the water on the earth outside.  Eat something to bring your senses back to the mundane once more.

 Journal your impressions.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hekate Symbols & Dates


Origin:
According to tradition, Hekate is said to be of ancient Thracian decent.  She bestows with her wisdom and farsighted talents  victory, prosperity, wisdom, and guardianship over sailors, hunters, farmers and herders.  Goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, sickle moon, wraiths and necromancy. The only child of the Titanes Perses and Asteria from whom she received her power over heaven, earth, and sea.

I am a key-bearer.  I did not come to Hekate on my own, she found me as is the custom of this chthonic dweller and Guardian of the Gate.  She has lead me to become a death-midwife. I am not alone in this apprenticeship; there are others I have met who do this work quietly in her name.

All honor and devotion when caring for the dead are hers.

Given that she is one of the more arcane goddesses, I hope to share more information concerning her in future posts.

Hekate Symbols:

Keys, torches, knife, rope, the crossroads, poisonous herbs especially aconite.

Hekate Animal Association:

Canines, ravens, owls, crows, toads, snakes


Hekate Offerings:

Eggs, cakes, honey, pomegranate, fish, figs, red millet, myrrh, camphor, willow, yew, hazel


Hekate Honoring Times:

Hecatesia: August 13, November 30

Deipnon- 29th each month  

Dark moon. or sickle moon


Orphic Hymn To Hekate

 "I invoke you, beloved Hekate of the Crossroads and the Three Ways

Saffron-cloaked Goddess of the Heavens, the Underworld and the Sea

Tomb-frequenter, mystery-raving with the souls of the dead

Daughter of Perses, Lover of the Wilderness who exults among the deer

Nightgoing One, Protectress of dogs, Unconquerable Queen

Beast-roarer, Dishevelled One of compelling countenance

Tauropolos, Keyholding Mistress of the whole world

Ruler, Nymph, Mountain-wandering Nurturer of youth.

Maiden, I beg you to be present at these sacred rites

Ever with a gladsome heart and ever gracious to the Oxherd."